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Winter 2012-13

Office of Technology Commercialization, The University of Texas at Austin

Colloquium on Commercialization

OTC initiatives

Research news

Awards and achievements

Dan Sharp to head OTC


AM HONORED to be named director of the Office of Technology Commercialization at The University of Texas at Austin. I accepted the position 足because of my strong affinity for UT, as well as the 足opportunity and challenge of taking the research performed at UT and intelligently transferring it to the private sector in a way that maximizes the benefits to UT, Texas, and the United States. The faculty and staff at UT are globally recognized for their scientific contributions, and those contributions lead to fundamental technological innovation. By way of example, one of the 2012 UT Inventors of the Year, Dr. Grant Willson (Chemical Engineering and Chemistry & Biochemistry) was awarded the Japan Prize on January 30 for his research related to semiconductor films. Similarly, one of the 2011 足Inventors of the Year, Dr. John Goodenough, is also a Japan Prize recipient for his work with lithiumion batteries. I am delighted to work with the OTC staff and UT faculty to bring these types of technologies from the UT lab bench to the private sector. It is the responsibility of OTC to protect the research performed at UT through a variety of intellectual property forms and to disseminate that intellectual property intelligently to the world outside UT. UT is, and will continue to be, a valuable source of research and technology for the private sector. The work done in UT labs can create jobs for Texas and the United States. It is our collective responsibility to facilitate commercialization and innovation throughout the state and the country. I am eager to embark on this challenge at UT along with all of the OTC staff. o

Licensing news

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2012-13 Colloquium on Commercialization concerns investors have before committing to a project and the difference between common and preferred equity.

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VP for Research Dr. Juan Sanchez talks with faculty attendees.


Conference goers at the AT&T Executive Center focus on the presentations.


IP attorney Dean Mun­yon gives an overview of the patent process.


Dan Sharp, associate VP for research and director of OTC, moderates the event throughout the day.


Houston VC Ron Nixon explains how to build value for startups.


Guests network at the cocktail reception following the event.


First program in the Colloquium series: Jenkins presented patent law fundamentals

Taking research to the market: Startup to IPO

The Office of Technology Commercialization’s annual Colloquium opened on Oct. 19, 2012, with “Startup to IPO: Creating and Sustaining Investment-Quality Companies.” Members of The University of Texas at Austin research faculty and staff attended a full-day program ­designed to answer questions about the challenges of forming a startup and the commercialization process. A team of experts—including attorneys, investment bankers, venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, and university research scientists—explained the complexities of startup licensing at the university. In the opening session, Kenneth Jenkins, partner at Kilpatrick Townsend of San Diego, Calif., and Dean M. Munyon, director and shareholder at Meyertons, Hood, Kivlin, Kowert & Goetzel, of Austin, Texas, discussed the critical first steps of maximizing the value of intellectual property (IP). Munyon focused his presentation on patent law and its procedures, while

The “Startup to IPO” workshop closed with Bob Metcalfe, professor of inno­vation at the Cockrell School of Engineering, leading a panel of UT Austin professors who have successfully managed university startups. Bob H ­ ardage, senior research scientist at the Bureau of Economic ­Geology; Thomas Milner, professor of biomedical engineering; and Preston Wilson, asso­ciate professor of mechanical engineering,

Preston Wilson (left) and Bob Hardage (right) describe startup strategies.

shared their experiences in developing new technology and the commercialization process. The panel emphasized how ­essential it is to commercialize and how OTC has facilitated the process of ­commercialization. o

and shared some of his experiences with past clients. Jenkins and Munyon helped attendees understand how best to secure their IP while interacting with the industry. Business law experts Alex Allemann, shareholder at Winstead Attorneys of Austin, Texas, and J. Robert Suffoletta, partner at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati of Austin, Texas, explained the legal steps startups should take, from corporate formation to exit plan. Suffoletta spoke in depth about initial funding sources and outlined pros and cons for startups. The program continued with Ron Nixon, founding principal of The Catalyst Group Inc. of Houston, Texas, moderator of the panel on building value and financing. The panel featured Cliff Atherton, managing director of GulfStar Group in Houston, Texas, and Bill Zartler, founder and managing partner of Denham Capital in Houston, Texas. Nixon mentioned the importance of choosing the right investor for each stage and the benefits of knowing all the options available to startups. Zartler and Atherton discussed in detail the

Coming February 7, the next program in the series:

2012-13 Colloquium lineup Startup to IPO Friday, October 19, 2012 9:00am–6:00pm

“What you need to know about patents”


Inventor Award Ceremony & Reception Thursday, December 6, 2012 6:00–8:00pm

What You Need to Know About Patents Thursday, February 7, 2013 3:00–6:00pm

Funding & Licensing Strategies Wednesday, April 10, 2013 3:00–6:00pm

Expert panelists—including Bruce Kisliuk, USPTO deputy commissioner for patent administration, and Kevin Meek, IP attorney and partner at Baker Botts—will provide an overview of patent protection to UT faculty and research teams. The program deals with topics directly relevant to UT ­Austin researchers: patenting strategies, patent law basics, and real-world examples of how to patent university research ­successfully. Dan Sharp, ­associate VP for research and OTC director, will moderate. Cocktail hour and networking will follow. o



Rudy Garza, partner at G-51 Capital Manage­ ment of Austin, Texas; Clint Bybee, co-founder and managing director of ARCH Venture Partners in Austin, Texas; Jay Cohan, investment partner at Western Technology Investment in Portola Valley, Calif.; and Mark Fernandes, managing director of Sierra Ventures in Menlo Park, Calif., shared their insights on what inventors can do to put their best foot forward when pitching to professional venture c­ apitalists.

Are you a UT researcher interested in attending? Email

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“It is never more evident than on occasions like this that what starts here changes the world.”


—William Powers Jr., President, The University of Texas at Austin

HE OFFICE OF Technology Commercialization (OTC) announced this year’s inventors of the year. C. Grant Willson and S.V. Sreenivasan were recognized at the second annual Inventor Award Ceremony & Reception on Dec. 7, 2012, the second program in the 2012-2013 Colloquium on Commercialization series. Willson’s and Sreenivasan’s tremendous research contributions, along with the company founded on their research, Molecular Imprints Inc. (MII), were instrumental in their selection for this honor. C. Grant Willson is a professor in the Departments of Chemical Engineering and Chemistry & Biochemistry at UT Austin. His career is decorated with numerous awards and achievements, such as the 2007 ­National Medal for Technology and ­Innovation, awarded by President George “I congratulate Dr. Sreenivasan and W. Bush, the Japan Prize, and Dr. Willson for their momentous the Rashid Engineering Recontributions to society, the full gents Chair. Willson’s research scope of which we won’t know for ­focuses primarily on the synmany decades to come.” thesis of organic compounds — President Powers that have applications in engineering and ­microelectronics. S.V. Sreenivasan, a professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, also enjoys many accolades in his academic and business careers. Sreenivasan’s many accomplishments include the 2010 O’Donnell Award in Technology Innovation from The Academy of

Medicine, Engineering, and Science of Texas (­TAMEST) and the Eli H. and Ramona Thornton Centennial Fellow in Engineering. Sreenivasan’s research areas are in high throughput nanomanufacturing as applied to terabit density data storage, nanoelectronics, photonic devices, and emerging biomedical and clean energy a­ pplications.


REENIVASAN’S AND WILLSON’S research findings form the basis of their company, Molecular Imprints, Inc. (MII). The compounds synthesized by Willson and his team, in concert with Sreenivasan’s nanomanufacturing innovations, have led to their company’s best-selling products, Jet and Flash™ Imprint Lithography (J-FIL™) and the IntelliJet™ Drop Pattern Generator. These innovations can be applied to creating hard disk drives with vastly more memory, imprinting features onto semiconductors with lower cost and higher reliability, replicating imprint templates with a lower cost of ownership, improving the performance and efficiency of light-emitting diodes (LEDs), and improving the performance and lowering the fabrication costs of LCD displays. Since they co-founded MII in 2001, Willson and Sreenivasan have worked closely in collaboration with OTC to facilitate the growth and maturity of their company and their inventions. The relationship between MII and UT Austin is widely touted as a model for technology transfer. o

Dr. C. Grant Willson

Department of Chemical Engineering/ Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry

Dr. S.V. Sreenivasan

Department of Mechanical Engineering

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Inventors with U.S. patents issued in fiscal 2011-12.


HERE IS NO mistaking the importance of the bridge between university research and the marketplace. In concert with our researchers, entrepreneurs, industry partners, and other partners, OTC works to make the bridge safer through patent protection and stronger with more quality patent filings. Celebrate with us the accomplishments of our UT Austin researchers who were issued new U.S. patents in fiscal year 2011-2012.

Robert Heath, Jr.

US Patents No. 8,130,862; 8,130,862; 8,135,349; 8,165,533; 8,165,533; 8,190,209; 8,190,209; 8,200,212; 8,200,212; 8,204,142; 8,204,142; 8,217,835; 8,217,835; 8,284,863; and 8,284,863

Gyeong Hwang

US Patent No. 8,036,864

Manish Airy

US Patent No. 8,130,862

Jeffrey Andrews

US Patent No. 8,135,349

Eric Anslyn

Angela Belcher

US Patents No. 8,088,982 and 8,201,724

John Biskup

US Patent No. 8,189,968

US Patent No. 8,093,911

Phillip Bookert

US Patents No. 8,101,431 and 8,105,849

US Patent No. 8,060,532

Sanjay Banerjee

Alan Bovik

US Patents No. 8,188,460 and 8,198,707

Vishal Bang

US Patents No. 8,043,998 and 8,138,127

US Patent No. 8,164,039

Larry Britton

Zhaobin Chen

US Patent No. 8,211,361

Byung Choi

US Patent No. 8,016,277

Nicolaos Christodoulides

US Patent No. 8,211,837

Douglas Burger

John Cullinane

Allen Bard

Carolyn Bayer

US Patents No. 8,165,533; 8,190,209; 8,204,142; 8,217,835; and 8,284,863

US Patent No. 8,304,248

Xiaonan Chen

US Patents No. 8,101,431 and 8,105,849

US Patents No. 8,055,881; 8,127,119; and 8,180,997

US Patents No. 8,188,243 and 8,211,279

Ray Chen

US Patent No. 8,189,968

Chan-byoung Chae

US Patent No. 8,070,856

Manfred Fink

US Patent No. 8,111,394

Robert Flake

US Patent No. 8,093,911

Pierre Floriano

Lizy John

US Patent No. 8,041,931

Stephen Keckler

US Patents No. 8,055,881; 8,127,119; and 8,180,997

Nathaniel Kemp

US Patent No. 8,125,648

Eunha Kim

US Patent No. 8,125,648

Jihoon Kim

US Patent No. 8,108,030

Sang-hyun Kim

US Patent No. 8,217,835

Caleb Funk

US Patent No. 8,193,010

Jin-Sam Kwak

Kwangseok Lee

US Patent No. 8,017,174

Thomas Milner

US Patents No. 8,036,732; 8,125,648; and 8,164,834

Ramadass Nagarajan

Bob Hardage

US Patent No. 8,211,361

Jie Luo

Allan MacDonald

US Patent No. 8,188,460

Chuanbin Mao

US Patent No. 8,201,724

Mehul Sampat

US Patent No. 8,164,039

Karthikeyan Sankaralingam US Patents No. 8,055,881 and 8,180,997

Mukul Sharma

US Patents No. 8,043,998 and 8,138,127

Jason Shear

US Patents No. 8,101,431 and 8,105,849

Seijoon Shim

US Patent No. 8,135,349

S.V. Sreenivasan

US Patent No. 8,211,361

Quoc Nguyen

US Patents No. 8,037,118; 8,078,660; 8,099,447; 8,161,090; and 8,166,091

Jung Hwan Oh

US Patent No. 8,164,834

Dharmendar Palle US Patent No. 8,188,460

Ho Park

US Patents No. 8,043,998; 8,138,127; 8,188,012; and 8,211,837

Paul Gratz

Gary Rochelle

US Patent No. 8,070,856

Dean Neikirk

Haiming Liu

Douglas Lloyd

US Patent No. 8,188,460

US Patent No. 8,016,277

US Patent No. 8,304,247

US Patent No. 8,211,279

Leonard Register II

US Patents No. 8,055,881 and 8,180,997

Chongyang Liu

US Patent No. 8,041,931

US Patent No. 8,211,951

US Patents No. 8,040,754; 8,164,979; and 8,243,548

Timothy Michaelson

US Patent No. 8,017,050

Ashwini Gopal

US Patent No. 8,180,997

Karri Michael-Ballard

US Patents No. 8,101,431 and 8,105,849

Tao Li

US Patent No. 8,180,997

US Patent No. 8,193,010

US Patent No. 8,017,174

US Patent No. 8,211,837

US Patent No. 8,093,098

US Patent No. 8,211,951

Jason Meiring

Sunmin Kim

US Patent No. 8,198,707

Antonio Forenza

US Patent No. 8,017,050

John McDevitt

US Patents No. 8,101,431 and 8,105,849

US Patent No. 8,101,431 and 8,105,849

US Patents No. 8,101,431 and 8,105,849

Benny Freeman

Bryan McCloskey

US Patent No. 8,017,050

Seyoung Kim

US Patent No. 8,135,349

US Patent No. 8,130,862

Mia Markey

US Patent No. 8,164,039

Nicholas Peppas Gary Pope

Eric Quinnell

Yuyu Sun

Earl Swartzlander, Jr. Emmanuel Tutuc

US Patent No. 8,188,460 and 8,198,707

Philip Varghese

US Patent No. 8,111,394

Upali Weerasooriya

US Patents No. 8,188,012 and 8,211,837

Eric White

US Patent No. 8,060,532

C. Grant Willson

US Patent No. 8,017,174

Miao Wujiam

US Patents No. 8,037,118 and 8,078,660

US Patent No. 8,188,243

Nitya Ranganathan

US Patent No. 8,036,864

US Patents No. 8,127,119 and 8,180,997

Ted Rappaport

US Patent No. 8,200,212

Decai Yu

Xiaojing (John) Zhang US Patent No. 8,193,010

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Sponsoring regional and national partnerships OTC inventors pitch to investors at the 2012 ­Angel Capital Association Summit


N MARCH 6, 2012, angel investors from across the country gathered on the sixth floor of the Hilton Austin Hotel for a large collection of events and seminars known as the Angel Capital Association Summit.

An important feature of the summit was the innovative Technology and Investing Showcase, a series of one-hour meetings with top companies, universities, and organizations in Texas and beyond. Attendees joined small group meetings in order to: ■■ Find business development opportunities with angel-backed companies ■■ Discuss cutting-edge ideas with thought leaders in venture capital and technology commercialization ■■ Learn about emerging trends from the people creating them In addition to sponsoring the event, the Office of Technology Commercialization (OTC) hosted UT Austin inventors who were there to pitch their companies and garner industry contacts and capital. Danielle Applestone, a Ph.D. candidate in the Cockrell School of Engineering’s Materials Science & Engineering program, kicked off the “Energy & Materials” track of the showcase with a compelling pitch for her company, Batt-rē, and the new anode she invented that out­performs the ones used in most current ­commercial ­batteries. Also presenting was Dr. Yetkin Yildirim, director of the Texas Pavement Preservation Center and research assistant professor in the Cockrell School of Engineering, to ­present Terra Pave Inter-

national’s Terra Prime. As the inventor of Terra Prime, Dr. Yildirim pitched the clear benefits of Terra Prime by contrasting them with the shortcomings of current primer materials for pavement. In the “IT & Internet” track, asso­ciate professor Dr. Sriram Vishwanath of the Depart­ment of Electrical & Computer Engineering gave a presentation of his company, Vectura­Lux, Inc. His invention, Paralux™, would combat the rising problem of exponentially growing internet traffic. Its outstanding feature is its use of multimode fibers to increase the speed and processing volume of data, increasing the overall data rate significantly. Dr. Mark Wochner, research associate at Applied Research Laboratories, concluded the “Energy & Materials” track of the showcase with his presentation of AdBm Technologies. Dr. Wochner pitched his company by ­emphasizing the harm to the underwater ecosystem of noise produced by under­water construction and how his company’s bubble technology far out­ performs the current solutions in the market. Through OTC’s involvement in this conference, UT Austin inventors enjoyed exposure to new organizations, angel investors, other inventors, and firms from across the globe that will lead to new ventures and future ­success. o

“IP Boot Camp”: Texas Regional Independent Inventors Conference 2012 Collaborating with the United States Patent and Trademark ­Office (USPTO) and Invent Now, the National Inventors Hall of Fame Foundation, OTC sponsored the Texas Regional Independent Inventors Conference 2012. The event took place on Sept. 14-15 on the UT campus and brought together inventors and patent experts to discuss cutting-edge inventions and how to bring them to market. A crowd of inventors, researchers, and budding entre­preneurs filled the con­ference center to hear the experiences of industry legends such as Bob Metcalfe,

National Inventors Hall of Fame inductee and professor of innovation at UT Austin. Speakers at the conference discussed issues such as the new American Invents Act and its effects on inventors and their intellectual properties, but were also focused on discussing patent law basics and marketing and branding strategies. Offering their insights were a diverse group of experienced inventors, entrepreneurs, and patent law veterans, including Bruce Kisliuk, USPTO deputy commissioner for patent admin­ istration; John Love, patent

attorney at Cook Law Firm; Geneva Grainger, entrepreneur and inventor; and Dan Sharp, ­associate VP for research and OTC director. The biggest hit with conference attendees was the unique opportunity to ­approach inventing and patenting power­houses through one-on-one ­sessions and breakout discussions. As one attendee remarked: “The guest and independent inventor speakers were outstanding. I was inspired by their talks. As an engineer who has designed Ethernet controller chips, I was awed to get to hear Bob Metcalfe speak.” o

Starting up faculty innovation: Longhorn Startup Studio


HEN BOB METCALFE joined The Uni­ versity of Texas at Austin as professor of innovation, he was asked to boost commercialization at UT and forge stronger ties between faculty and the entrepreneurial community. Longhorn Startup Studio proposes to do just that with its focus on faculty research-based ­startups.

“If we are going to increase the quality and the number of startups, then we should focus more on professor-based startups, which are much more likely to be successful.” —Bob Metcalfe, Professor of Innovation Cockrell School of Engineering Longhorn Startup Studio is sponsored by the Innovation Center of the Cockrell School of Engineering and the Austin Chamber of Commerce, with OTC, the Austin Technology Incubator, and the Jon Brumley Texas Venture Labs as its partners. The Studio enhances commercialization efforts by providing a casual dinner program where faculty and their research teams can present their work, receive feedback, and make ­business ­connections.


N OCT. 17, 2012 the first studio was kicked off by three faculty members: Eric ­Anslyn,

co-founder of Kymyk Technologies LLC and professor in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry; Daniel ­Miranker, co-founder of Capsenta and professor in the Department of Computer Science; and Yetkin Yildirim, director of the Texas Pavement Preservation Center, ­research assistant professor in the Cockrell School of Engineering, and co-founder of Terra Pave International Inc.


HE SECOND STARTUP Studio took place on Dec. 11, 2012, and featured presentations from startups Admittance, Lynx Labs, and Silicon Audio. Special guests at the event ­included Dr. Tom Caven, VP of medical affairs and medical director of University Medical ­Center Bracken­ridge Hospital; Bill ­Spencer, of Sematech and Xerox Research; and G ­ ordon ­Walton, Playdom VP and ­executive producer. Longhorn Startup Studio is part of a ­larger program called the Longhorn Startup Program, which includes Longhorn Startup Seminar, for students seeking information about building startups, and Longhorn Startup Lab, which is an incubator for ­student teams seeking to build their own startup. o

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Bridging innovation: OTC leads USPTO initiative

OTC statistics, FY2011-12

The Office of Technology Commercialization at the University of Texas at Austin spearheaded an initiative with the United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) in support of the USPTO Patent Examiner Technical Training Program (PETTP)—a program launched by the USPTO to update their super­visors and senior patent examiners on technical developments, the state of the art, emerging trends, maturing technologies, and recent innovations.


HE GOAL OF the USPTO’s training program is to develop patent examiner and faculty relationships in order to streamline the patent process and enhance technology commercialization efforts. The benefit of such a program for universities: discoveries and inventions will be better protected, which will lead to further scientific research and ultimately advance technology transfer and commercialization efforts.

ing program are highly beneficial to commercialization efforts: an expedited process via streamlined patent examination, fewer delays and quicker final disposition, a reduction of the need for Request for Continued Examination Practice, and assistance to the USPTO in identifying allowable subject matter and issuing strong, valid patents.

Once the PETTP program was launched, David Kappos, under secretary of commerce for intellectual property and director of the ­USPTO, recognized the need for additional training by experts across many areas of research. As a result, Kappos invited OTC to host the first university-led training webinar for patent examiners.


More information on the PETTP may be found at



ASED ON THE model and the success of the UT Austin webinar, OTC proposed a joint initiative between the USPTO and the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM, a national association of technology transfer professionals) to leverage expertise ■■ from across the nation and join the PETTP initiative. OTC led a pilot program to develop best practices and invited key universities such as Columbia, Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF), and others to test-drive the initiative. The pilot was successful; Kappos personally announced the initiative and extended an invitation to participate in the USPTO training program to almost 2,000 tech transfer professionals at the 2012 AUTM Annual ­Meeting. The initiative is a “win-win” for all involved: for the USPTO, it helps improve the strength and quality of U.S. patents and adds support for a stronger patent system. From a university’s perspective, the results of an expanded train-



DDITIONAL INITIATIVES WITH the USPTO include: Austin Chamber of Commerce’s Texas Global IP Summit and OTC’s University IP Symposium: featuring James Pooley, deputy director general for innovation and technology at the World Intellectual Property Organization (Geneva, Switzerland); LEE Soowon, commissioner of the Korean Intellectual Property Office (Daejeon, Korea); and David Kappos, under secretary of commerce for intellectual property and director of the USPTO. 2011-12 Colloquium on Commercialization: The USPTO presented in the capstone event in OTC’s Colloquium on Commercialization series, “What you need to know about patents.” The event was geared towards UT research faculty and staff seeking a “crash course” on patents for commercializing their research. Texas Regional Independent Inventors Conference: OTC sponsored the Texas Regional Independent Inventors Conference on September 14-15, 2012. See page 13 for info. 2012-13 Colloquium on Commercialization: Join OTC on February 7, 2013 for our next patent event: “What you need to know about patents.” See page 3 of this newsletter for more details, or visit Events/Colloquium/ o



An inventor’s first step in technology commercialization is to submit an invention disclosure, enabling OTC to evaluate, protect, and license the technology. OTC received 169 invention disclosures in FY2011-12. Disclosures may include the work of several researchers, and often identify multiple departments or even ­colleges. Cockrell School of Engineering topped the FY11-12 disclosure count, with some 60% of disclosures naming one or more inventors from an engineering department. The College of Natural Sciences ranked second with 26%.


After assessing a disclosure for scientific and commercial potential, OTC may proceed to filing a patent ­application. OTC filed a total of 203 patents in FY2011-12. The majority of patent filings were US provisionals, but OTC also filed a significant number of PCT applications, which reserve foreign patent rights in countries that are members of the Patent Co­operation Treaty.


OTC executed 17 licenses and options for UT technologies in FY2011-12. Exclusive licenses give the licensee the sole right to commercialize the technology; non-exclusive licenses— commonly used with software products—may be issued to multiple licensees. OTC also executes options, which allow a potential licensee to evaluate a tech­nology prior to licensing.

A total of 72 patents were issued worldwide to OTC in FY2011-12. From first filing date, a U.S. patent took an average of 4½ years to issue. ­Foreign patents averaged 9 years from filing to ­issuance. Thus, the patents issued this year represent patent ­applications filed several years ago.

Over the past ten years...

$115MM 1,400 l­ icensing revenue

invention disclosures


U.S. and foreign p ­ atent applications

525 patents issued

275 licenses signed


startup companies

Research highlights

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Researchers collaborate on simulations to develop longer-lasting heart valves With a four-year, $2.48 million grant, biomedical engineering professor Dr. Michael Sacks has set out to develop simulations that will ultimately create longer-lasting heart valves. The bioprosthetic heart valves currently on the market have a life span of only 10 to 15 years. Dr. Sacks and professors from other universities are simulating the wear and tear on new heart valves in order to find ways to make them more durable. Developing new vaccines for emerging diseases is focus of $6.5 million contract Dr. George Georgiou, professor, Biomedical Engineering and Chemical Engineering Departments, and team are recipients of a $6.5 million grant to accelerate the processes of developing and evaluating vaccines for emerging diseases. Time is of the essence with emerging diseases, but the current processes for developing and testing vaccines against them are time-consuming and expensive. Humphreys’ team demos successful GPS spoofing This summer, the FAA and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security invited Dr. Todd Humpheys to White Sands, N.M. to demonstrate GPS spoofing of an unmanned aerial ­vehicle (UAV). Spoofing prevents a vehicle from telling the original operator that it is off-course and under someone else’s control. The demonstration shows how vulnerable UAVs are to GPS spoofing and that measures need to be taken to improve their security. An old drug teaches researchers new tricks Dr. Kim Raab-Graham is leading a team in the investigation of the effects of the drug rapamycin on Alzheimer’s disease. Rapamycin is normally used in transplants so that the body does not reject the new organs, but Dr. Raab-Graham’s team is finding that the new drug is effective in reducing non-convulsive seizures in rats. This leads the team to search for a way to make a drug like rapamycin without its immuno­suppressant properties.

AI game bots pass Turing test on Turing’s 100th Computer sciences professor Dr. Risto Miikkulainen and his team have created an artificially intelligent video game “bot” that was judged to be more human-like than half the people it played against. Bureau of Economic Geology wins award from RPSEA Unconventional Resources Program The Bureau of Economic Geology was awarded a grant from the Research Partnership to Secure Energy for America (RPSEA) for its project called “Understanding and Managing Environmental Roadblocks to Shale Gas Development.” Preparing for pandemics Dr. Lauren Ancel Meyers, associate professor in the Section of Integrative Biology, led the development of a set of mathematical models and programs that will help determine how quickly and how far a disease can spread. The Texas Pandemic Flu Toolkit was developed to enhance decision-making during timesensitive pandemic situations. The new drilling frontier Department of Petroleum & Geosystems Engineering professor Dr. Eric van Oort is going to the new drilling frontier: offshore. With the industry becoming more and more complicated, robotic devices that are operated by state-of-the-art facilities are now necessary to move forward in deep water. This is the future of the oil industry. Bittner develops nerve repair method that drastically reduces recovery time Dr. George Bittner has pioneered a method of reconnecting severed nerves that reduces recovery time and restores more limb functionality than current methods allow. Within minutes of waking up from surgery, experimental rats are already able to move their affected limbs. After two to four weeks, 98% of

the rats in the study will have recovered 60% to 70% of their leg function. Dr. Bittner hopes that, in the near future, this method will be used on more challenging human cases. Varghese leads $1.3M program to fundamentally rethink scramjet engine design The UT Austin Center for Aero­ mechanics Research received a grant of $1.3 million from the U.S. Air Force to reengineer the Scram­ jet engine to be more efficient at the molecular level. Director Philip ­Varghese will seek to understand how molecular vibra­tions affect turbulent flows. UT Austin Marine Science Institute researcher speaks on UN panel on coastal hypoxia Dr. Peter Thomas, Marine Science Institute senior research scientist, was sponsored by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to speak to the United Nations as part of a panel of experts on the issue of coastal hypoxia (dead zones) in the Gulf of Mexico. Dr. Thomas’s research has given him special insight into oceanic hypoxia and assessing its impact. The panel met during the 39th session of the Joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection. 50-year cholera mystery solved by scientists at The University of Texas at Austin Dr. Stephen Trent, associate pro­ fessor of molecular genetics & microbiology, and his team have discovered that the cholera virus changes the electrical charge of its surface from negative to neutral. This renders our natural defenses useless, because they have a positive charge that would normally bond with a virus to kill it. This new insight will spark the development of anti­biotics that allow the body’s ­immune ­system to do its job. Changes in developmental timing were crucial in evolutionary shift from dinosaurs to birds Scientists have long understood that modern birds are the descendants of dinosaurs, but a new insight lies in their developmental cycle speeds. Dr. Tim Rowe, director of the UT

­ ustin High-Resolution X-Ray Scanning Facility and A study co-author, used CT scans to find ­striking similarities between mature bird skulls and baby dinosaur skulls. The researchers found that because birds mature faster, their skulls retain many characteristics of immature dinosaur skulls. BWF announces Sullivan as a 2012 Investigator in Pathogenesis of Infectious Disease The Burroughs Wellcome Fund has tapped Dr. Chris Sullivan, associate professor of molecular genetics and microbiology, to receive its prestigious recognition. This fund awards him $500,000 to pursue his research on the herpes virus. Faculty team develops improved drug delivery Keith Johnston, Jennifer Maynard, and Thomas Truskett led a team of researchers in the Department of Chemical Engineering to develop an innovative way to deliver protein-based drugs to patients. The development of a more tightly packed protein cluster means these drugs can be injected in smaller, thinner needles than ever before. Waggoner Center receives $3.3 million grant to develop medications for alcohol/drug addiction The National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism awarded $3.3 million to Waggoner Center for Alcohol and Addiction ResearchDirector R. Adron Harris and his team of researchers. The team is researching which regions of the brain are affected by alcohol and drugs and what medications could block those effects. Stopping cancer in its tracks Dr. Kevin Dalby, professor in the Medic­inal Chemistry Department of the College of Pharmacy, has spent his academic career exploring the nuances of cancer. Many factors can cause normal cells to lose their regulators and become cancerous, which means that specialized approaches are paramount in combating the disease. Dalby’s research in protein kinases ­focuses on how to stop faulty signals before the damage multiplies. o


Interested in more research news like this? Follow us on Twitter at @utotc

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Faculty Awards and Achievements


EAR AFTER YEAR, The University of Texas at Austin is recognized as one of the best public universities in the world. This is due in no small part to our outstanding faculty who are known across the globe as the leading experts in their fields. OTC is proud to call ourselves partners with these faculty members as we help carry out the university’s commercialization mission. Join us in ­congratulating our faculty as we highlight some of their many awards and achievements.

George Georgiou, UT Austin professor of biomedical engineering and chemical engineering, was elected to the Institute of Medicine, the health arm of the National Academies. Georgiou’s impressive number of significant contributions to the medical field were instrumental in his selection. He is only the third UT Austin faculty member and the second Cockrell School faculty member to have been elected. Keith Johnston was inducted as a Fellow by the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) on February 22, 2012. The chemical engineering professor in the Cock-

rell School of Engineering was inducted for his seminal contributions to the utilization of supercritical processes and nanoparticle technologies in drug delivery. This induction puts Dr. Johnston in the top two percent of medical and biological engineers in the nation who are recognized by their peers for outstanding work in academia, industry, and the government. Brent Waters, an assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science in the College of Natural Sciences, was awarded the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) by President Barack Obama on July 31, 2012. This honor is given by the U.S. government to the most outstanding young science and engineering research professionals. Award

recipients are selected based upon their innovative research in the science and engineering fields as well as their commitment to service in the community. John Good­ enough, the UT Austin mechanical engineering professor credited with the development of the lithium-ion battery, was elected to the National Academy of Sciences, the country’s most prestigious scientific organization. Dr. Goodenough’s contributions in energy storage technology over his lifetime are what set him apart from his peers. He is one of 17 current members of faculty at UT Austin to have received this award. He also received the National Medal of Science from President Obama this year, along with Dr. Allen Bard.

Nicholas ­Peppas received the 2012 Founders Award from the National Academy of E­ ngineering (NAE) for his groundbreaking work in polymer chemistry, bioengineering, pharmaceutical sciences, and advanced drug delivery. Jonathan Pillow has been granted a 2012 McKnight Scholar Award by the McKnight Endowment Fund for Neuroscience. An assistant professor at the Center for Perceptual Systems, Dr. Pillow will use this grant to continue developing statistical models and analyses to determine what information is contained in neurons from different regions of the brain.

Jim Chelikowsky won the American Physical Society’s highest computational physics award, the Aneesur Rahman Prize for Computational Physics. A professor in the Departments of Physics, Chemical Engineering, and Chemistry & Biochemistry, Dr. Chelikowsky received the award for his software meant to design and discover materials for low-cost energy applications. Allen Bard, director of the Center for Electrochemistry, received the National Medal of Science from President Barack Obama this year. This award is the highest honor that the United States government can bestow on

a scientist, engineer, or inventor. Dr. Bard is widely regarded by his colleagues as the “father of modern electrochemistry.” His work can be seen in action everywhere from medical equipment to semi­ conductors. Lorenzo Alvisi was awarded the prestigious Humboldt Research Award from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. The professor in the Department of Computer Science received the award based upon his contributions to his field throughout his career and as an endorsement to produce more cuttingedge research in the future. o

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OTC licensee in search to silence whooping cough The University of Texas at Austin has become part of a research effort to combat the deadly, rapidly rising disease of pertussis, better known as whooping cough. OTC has signed a patent licensing agreement and threeyear sponsored research agreement with Synthetic Biologics Inc. and Intrexon Corporation. These three entities will pursue additional research.

The OTC licensing team

Antibiotics and vaccines exist to treat and prevent pertussis today, but the real threat that keeps these treatments from being more effective is the toxin produced when the B. pertussis bacteria infects a host. While antibiotics are effective against the bacteria itself, they do nothing to neutralize the toxin it produces, leading to the need for mechanical ventilation in infants or persistence of the “cough of 100

days” in adults. These deficiencies in the current treatments are a major factor in the 293,000 deaths caused by whooping cough worldwide. Jeffrey Riley, chief executive officer of Synthetic Biologics Inc., points out the urgent need for a new therapy: “A steady increase in outbreaks of pertussis has become a serious threat to some of the most vulnerable members of our society, especially infants, and to individuals who are unvaccinated or whose vaccine failed to provide lasting immunity. Across the nation this year, doctors have reported twice as many cases of pertussis as there were in 2011. The risk to individuals and to public health caused by outbreaks of pertussis support the pursuit of a new therapeutic option such as our mAb therapy.” When the companies brainstormed with the university

Tom Baughman, Licensing Specialist Drug discovery, drug formula­tion, biochemistry, drug delivery, bio­ technology, cellular and molecular biology, chemical biosensors, bioassays, and medical ­application of nano­technologies

Max Green, Licensing Specialist Electro-mechanical systems, material science, MEMS, clean energy, nanotechnology, biofuels, photo­voltaics, energy storage, OLEDS, and advanced aerospace ­tech­nologies

Jitendra Jain (JJ), Licensing Specialist Software, copyright, open source, wireless communications, micro­ processors, networks, computing technologies, semiconductor, educational, animation, security, internet, ­high-energy physics, and advanced artificial ­intelligence systems

to decide who to work with, Dr. Jennifer Maynard, the Laurence E. McMakin, Jr. Centennial Fellow and associate professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering, was chosen. She was selected to lead the research ­efforts at the university because of her extensive experience in targeting the pertussis toxin. Synthetic Biologics is leading the charge to develop a monoclonal antibody (mAb) therapy called SYN-005 to neutralize the toxin, essentially taking the teeth from the tiger. Intrexon Corporation will contribute to the effort by providing their mAbLogix™ and LEAP™ platforms, which are designed to neutralize specific pathogens efficiently.

Selected OTC startups AdBM Technologies: The answer to the invisible problem

Terra Pave, UT-backed company, ­develops eco-friendly road material

Associate professor Preston Wilson and researchers Dr. Kevin Lee and Dr. Mark Wochner have developed a bubble curtain system that reduces the impact of under­water noise from drilling, underwater construction, and other human activities offshore.

Terra Pave International, Inc., a startup company backed by technology from UT Austin, has developed a new, “greener” product—Terra Prime—to replace MC-30, a dangerous chemical used to create roads and parking lots. The new material is safe, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly.

For ocean animals, underwater noise is more than a nuisance. Noise stresses and drowns out countless species that use sound to signal, hunt, and navigate. The question for many companies that conduct their business offshore has been: What can be done to decrease their environmental impact, and yet continue with their business? AdBM’s solution is: bubbles. o

Its use would prevent millions of gallons of petroleum solvent from evaporating into the atmosphere each year and would also reduce the risk of petroleum solvents penetrating and damaging irrigation systems. Thus far, the company has raised $1.65 million from investors to help it break into the multi­billion-dollar road construction i­ ndustry. o

This collaboration will bring us closer to a treatment to protect infants and adults from this d ­ angerous disease. o

Top 10 tweets of 2012

Wick Johnson, Licensing Specialist Biochemistry, molecular biology, drug delivery, biotechnology, cellular biology—particularly the pathology of metabolic disease, drug discovery, drug formula­tion, chemical biosensors, and b ­ ioassays

Les Nichols, Licensing Specialist Energy explora­tion, chemical processes, mechanical systems, material science, chemical synthesis, nuclear process management/­enhancement, filtration/separation processes, MEMS, clean energy, nanotechnology, photovoltaics, metrology processes, and enhanced construction materials

James Earl (Jim) Brown III, Director of Entrepreneurship and Innovation Identifies and evaluates technologies suitable for new venture formation o

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@UTAustin is one of the top 10 colleges for budding entrepreneurs @UTAustin is one of five schools chosen to improve video delivery over wireless networks #FoundingFathers - To celebrate the 4th of July, let’s look at some of our founding ­fathers’ brilliant inventions Z Machine produces six times the world’s energy to create white dwarf star | video: Do you live in one of @WashingtonPost’s top 20 #tech #startup hub cities? Check this list to see!

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“The GPS dot is going to be a wonderful and terrible thing,” says @UTAustin prof Todd Humphreys Looking for the Next Big Thing? Ranking the top 50 #startups #UTAustin joins bid for role in battery ­research center #UTAustin student: How wind energy can power desalination in Texas “There are greener pastures,” says C ­ ockrell School prof, on retreat from clean tech ­investments

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TechNews Winter 2012-2013  

The University of Texas at Austin's Office of Technology Commercialization newsletter